Books of Addiscombe

Addiscombe   Home   Heritage   Year 2001 Index   Feedback  

Mysterious Childhood Secrets

In the heritage page of the Croydon Guardian dated February they published an article about the Woodside Brickworks and invited readers to share their memories.

The writer, David Gowers, in "Building Blocks Of My Childhood" remembered the 1930's. My childhood experiences are form the 1950's.

I was a pupil at Woodside Junior Boys School from 1948 to 1953. My grandfather worked for Handley and lived with my Nan in Anthony Road.

I lived with my parents in Enmore Road, so my life then was spent close to the brickworks and definately in earshot of its load hooter.

My favourite memory of the brickworks is our secret playground.

This was an old disused brickfield situated between Dickensons Lane and Birchanger Road. I'm sure it was forbidden territory and equally that blind eyes were turned away from us, a small gang of boys.

Access was easy. My classmate Roger's house backed onto the area so we could easily squeeze through the fence there.

We also had various other places which we could squeeze through or climb in without being noticed.

Access was secret. We rarely seemed to encounter anyone else there and so we thought of it as out own private kingdom.

Once inside we had acres of open space for every adventure imaginable. Sometimes, for example, we were characters like Tom Sawyer or Just William and other times we fought enemies like the Nazis or Red Indians.

Nature had provided us with trees to climb, undergrowth to explore, space to run about in, materials for building camps, apples & blackberries to pick, and tadpoles & newts to catch all according to their seasons.

There were also a couple of mysteries. One was several open-topped, five foot high, brick enclosures without entrances.

We could not work out what they were and now wonder if they were some sort of foundation for buildings.

The other was the derelict remains of an open air swimming pool. It was still recognisable, with its tiled surrounds and diving boards almost intact and evidence of a decorative fountain. My guess was it had been a lido.

Now half a century on, can any of your readers explain my two mysteries ? I would be particularly interested to know the history of a luxury lido in a derelict brickfield in Woodside.

Last modified: 14th January 2013 - Copyright Canning and Clyde Residents Association
Content and Images may also be subject to copyright of other persons or organisations.